England’s penalty shoot-out win over Switzerland in the game nobody wanted – a match for losers as it was unkindly labelled – was greeted with about as much enthusiasm as a trip to the dentist.

Despite the best efforts of the Sky commentary duo of Martin Tyler and Gary Neville to convince us that the play-off for the bronze medals in a four-team tournament mattered, the fact is it didn’t.

They even found time to praise 15,000 all-singing, all-cheering England fans. With the official attendance given as 15,742 many of those supporters were clearly disguised in Swiss replica shirts.

The Nations League was introduced to do away with meaningless friendlies that all clubs object to, to be replaced by a meaningless third place play-off.

Even coach Gareth Southgate could hardly raise a smile at collecting a bronze. There was no presentation – the medals were left in the dressing room for collection.

Southgate’s standing among his players, the media and apparently the bulk of the fans, will not be affected by the 3-1 defeat against The Netherlands in the semi-final. Nor will anybody seriously question the double blunder of John Stones and Ross Barkley that led to the defeat. Nothing more than a blip.

The England boss still has to cope with the problem that faced each and every one of his predecessors but hardly raises more than a shrug from the studio experts.

Just look at the names on the Premier League team sheets, the list of players being chased by the top clubs in the transfer windows. There are not too many England candidates among them.

Gareth Southgate earned himself a lot of credit by reaching the World Cup semi-finals in Russia but how long will it continue?

England lost three of their seven games in the 2018 event and in this world of football statistics it won’t have gone unnoticed that Southgate’s record (eight defeats in 35 matches) can just about stand alongside that of Roy Hodgson (eight losses in 56) and Fabio Capello (six in 42). And they were both hounded out of the job as failures.

England were rated fourth in the world when the FIFA Rankings were announced in April. Maybe we ought to get used to that because it is as good as it is going to get.

The shortage of world-class players is going to get ever more worrying as clubs chase the big prizes and international events are squeezed into place at the worst times of the year, such as high summer and 30-degree heat.

And none of that is the manager’s fault. It is the Euros next for Southgate and his team are back in action against Bulgaria and Kosovo in September.

*There are some controversies that just won’t go away. Australian cricketers cannot even put their hands in their pockets without somebody thinking they are about to produce a piece of sandpaper to doctor the match ball.

A player falls over in a penalty area and immediately the question is asked: Did he did or was he pushed?

Points decisions in boxing are rarely universally accepted and Grand Prix racing would not be the same without them.

So let’s hope the average football fan really does want VAR to. If so, then he should be prepared for a sharp rise in the number of 0-0 draws we can expect to see in future.

The reason is not that the VAR decision is wrong but its purpose is to find some reason to rule out goals that have been awarded.

England did not complain about either of the VAR decisions that went against them in Portugal.

But how long will it be before the VAR man is asked to judge how much pushing and shoving goes on at every corner? The old saying about being careful what you wish for will one day produce its controversy – just like the case of the Aussies and their sandpaper.

*“And Lewis Hamilton finishes in second place to win the Canadian Grand Prix!”

Don’t take that as a direct quote, but for those of us who still don’t get what the appeal of Formula 1 racing that is exactly what happened in Montreal.

Rival Sebastian Vettel was leading when he went off the track on to the grass and was given a five-second penalty for pushing Hamilton too close to the wall.

Vettel claimed the race had been stolen from him and there were those who know about these things who appeared to agree with him.

Many non-fans of the sport have this quirky idea that a good driver in the best car will win – just as in horse racing, Lester Piggott’s nine Derby wins were not achieved on a donkey – so when three-time world champion Jackie Stewart gives his opinion it adds weight to that outsiders’ view.

“Fangio was the greatest driver. Jimmy Clark is next. With Lewis it is difficult to tell because he is driving such a good car.”